Hussain Talat is a left handed batsman who at the age of 16 has already played four List A matches and three T20 matches for ZTBL. During the four List A matches he scored 272 runs at an average of 90.66 with a highest score of 141. He also represented ZTBL in the recently concluded Ramadan T20 Cup in Karachi.
Hailing from the cricket mad city of Lahore, Hussain has already caught the eye of Pakistan’s selectors and has been included in the Pakistan Under 19 squad for the upcoming tri series against England and Bangladesh, after making an impressive start to his cricket career.
Full name: Mohammad Hussain Talat
Born: December 12, 1996, Lahore, Punjab
Current age: 16 years 227 days
Major teams: Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited
Batting style: Left-hand bat
Getting into Cricket
As far as I can remember I’ve always enjoyed playing and watching cricket. My elder brother and my father would take me along to matches when they were playing in Lahore so I would watch them in action and also at the same time practice on the sidelines with some of the other boys of a similar age. I’d be there with a tennis ball on the sidelines copying my cricketing heroes while watching the action.
After initially playing with a tennis ball as a young child, the natural progression was to start playing tape ball cricket with friends in the local streets and parks. I’ve always enjoyed playing tape ball cricket and still do. I think the importance of tape ball cricket is undervalued in a cricketer’s development and I’ve found playing tape ball cricket very useful.
My brother and other family members played for Ravi cricket club in Lahore and because I was familiar with the surroundings there I also joined this club. I was there every day and every hour that was available to me. Even now I spend a lot of time practising there and am a familiar face at the club. It’s a well organised club that produces a lot of first class cricketers.
The contract with ZTBL came as a total surprise to me. I was playing club cricket, practising with friends when Mohammad Khalil the ZTBL left arm pace bowler came over to the practice area where I was training and started watching me bat. At the end of my practice session he came over to me and had a chat about going to ZTBL for a trial. At that time WAPDA had made enquiries about me signing for them but I had not made any sort of commitment to them.
After speaking with Khalil I decided to go for a trial with ZTBL and fortunately the trial went very well. The coaching staff at ZTBL were impressed with my batting and I had no hesitation in signing for them. Mohammad Khalil, Imran Nazir and Saeed Ajmal have been very supportive and really looked after me at ZTBL. It’s daunting for a 16 year old boy to be playing professional cricket especially for a major team like ZTBL but thankfully I’ve settled down nicely there.
List A Matches
My debut was in April against National Bank at the Gaddafi stadium. I had to literally pinch myself to believe that I was out there in the Gaddafi stadium playing in the President’s Cup alongside Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Khalil, Haris Sohail and up against Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal, Hammad Azam and Wahab Riaz.
Ahead of my debut when the team was announced Saeed Ajmal who was captain came up to me and said that I should just play my natural game, be positive and believe in myself and not to feel any pressure at all. I was told that I would be opening and by the grace of the Almighty I made 67 from 82 balls on debut and shared an opening stand of 153 with Sharjeel Khan. I also took two catches but unfortunately we lost a high scoring match. The debut experience though was brilliant and it really taught me a lot about cricket at the highest level and what is required and how tough it is.
I went onto score 67, 52, 12 and 141 not out in this seasons President’s Cup. The score of 141 not out was against Port Qasim Authority and I shared an opening stand of 169 once again with Sharjeel Khan. Playing in the President’s Cup has been excellent for my development as a cricketer and I look forward to playing more competitive domestic cricket in future.
The last 12 months
In the space of 12 months time my life has changed. Last Ramadan I was a nobody playing club cricket in Lahore and playing street cricket with friends and had some big dreams. Now 12 months later I’m playing alongside great cricketers like Saeed Ajmal and playing against the best cricketers in Pakistan and have been selected for Pakistan’s Under 19s. It’s been a dream come true.
My cricketing heroes are Salman Butt, Mike Hussey and Kumar Sangakkara. Butt was always a cricketer who I enjoyed watching bat. At his best he was a fantastic batsman. Hussey has always been a great role model for young cricketers like myself and his levels of fitness and professionalism have been exemplary over the years. In addition Kumar Sangakkara is another left handed batsman who I greatly admire. His temperament and ability to utilise his skills in all three formats is something I greatly admire. Kumar shows that if you are a good batsman you can perform in any format.
Pakistan Under 19s
I’m delighted to have been picked for the Pakistan under 19s for the tri nation series next month in England. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to further develop as a cricketer and I’m really looking forward to the series. It will be my first overseas tour and both the England and Bangladesh under 19 sides are very strong so it should be a tough challenge especially in conditions that I’m not used to.
I started as a batsman who bowled some leg spin. My coaches always said to me that if I worked hard on my leg spin it was an area of my cricket that could be developed and could supplement my batting, but at heart I’ve always wanted to bowl first. So I ignored the advice from my coaches and started to bowl medium fast and that facet of my game has fortunately improved. In fact I was bowling medium fast recently in the Ramadan T20 Cup for ZTBL and I picked up three wickets in three matches.
I’m a firm believer that you should do what you are happy and comfortable doing. The heart wasn’t always in bowling leg spin and that’s why I’ve started to bowl fast again.
I think I have what it takes to become a genuine all rounder. I look at the likes of Abdul Razzaq and Hammad Azam and I think I can develop into a similar cricketer with hard work and some luck.
After a brilliant start to my ZTBL career and being called up for the Pakistan Under 19s, I want to continue to improve as a cricketer and to have a consistent season with ZTBL next season. The dream is to do well for the Pakistan Under 19s and then to play for Pakistan. I know it’s a dream that every young boy in Pakistan has but I’m certain that I can achieve that dream if I continue to improve and work hard.